Saturday 25 November 2017

Obama admits need for change if he's to win back voters

U. S. President Barack Obama meets school children as he visit Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi, India.AP Photo/ Charles Dharapak
U. S. President Barack Obama meets school children as he visit Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi, India.AP Photo/ Charles Dharapak

Erica Werner in New Delhi

A HUMBLED US President Barack Obama acknowledged yesterday that he must make some "mid-course corrections" if he is to win back an alienated electorate.

Another even more immediate problem will be to develop some kind of mechanism to enable him to work with resurgent Republicans.

On the second of the three days he is spending in India, Mr Obama arrived in New Delhi yesterday afternoon in the company of his wife, Michelle.

Amongst the crowd at the airport was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who apparently broke the normally rigid rules of protocol by making the trip to personally welcome Mr Obama to the Indian capital.

Earlier in the day while in Mumbai, Mr Obama appeared before college students eager to question him.

He told one that the midterm elections back home reflected the "right, obligation and duty" of the voters to express their unhappiness with the state of US affairs by voting out many incumbents, the majority of whom are Democrats like Mr Obama.


Republicans won control of the House, eroded the Democratic majority in the Senate, made huge gains at the state level and broadly changed the political landscape as Mr Obama began looking ahead to his own re-election campaign in 2012.

Mr Obama said he would not change his determination to move America forward by investing in education, infrastructure and clean energy despite mounting pressure in Washington to cut spending.

But he said, without elaborating, that the election "requires me to make some mid-course corrections and adjustments".

How those would play out over the next several months, Mr Obama said, would depend on his talks with Republicans.

His comments seemed to reflect a deeper acknowledgment of the need for change by the White House, but as he did at a news conference the day after the election, Mr Obama stayed purposely vague on how he would reposition his agenda.

The town hall with students, now a staple of Obama's foreign travel, was part of his outreach to this democracy of more than a billion people.

India is an emerging power in Asia and an increasingly important partner to the US on trade and security, in part because its rise offers a measure of balance to the growing strength of China.

Mr Obama is undertaking his lengthiest trip abroad as president -- a 10-day journey across India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

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